It’s bound to happen. You’ve planned the perfect Disney World vacation, only to be at the brunt end of some bad weather once you’ve arrived in the Magic Kingdom. While most visitors take the occasional rain shower in stride with an umbrella, there are times when Mother Nature has other plans. If there’s severe weather, Walt Disney World has policies in place to ensure that all guests are safe and sound – and can enjoy their WDW vacations.
Heavy rain showers and tropical storms are part of life in central Florida. In fact, Floridians rarely see summer days without some sort of precipitation, even if it’s just for a few moments in a localized area. In general, these short bursts of weather don’t affect Disney operations. Guests just don their rain ponchos or rain gear and keep on having fun. However, when the rain turns into a thunderstorm, it’s possible that some attractions will close until the storm passes. If the cast members feel that continuing to operate the ride will endanger guests, they will close the ride until it’s safe to continue operating. In most cases, these weather closures last for only short periods. In general, the Disney waterparks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, tend to be the most affected by the weather, and might not open at all on rainy or stormy days.
Hurricanes at the Park
Another reality of life in the tropical zone: hurricanes. While the inland location of the Walt Disney World Resort keeps it relatively safe from the worst effects of hurricanes, high winds and heavy rains can put a damper on the magic.
If the National Hurricane Center calls a hurricane warning for the Orlando area, it’s likely that one or more parks will be closed until the storm passes. If you are staying at a hotel in the area, your hotel front desk or concierge will be able to tell you the status of the park, and local media will be alerted to the closure as well.
Hurricanes Before You Arrive
There’s little that is more disappointing than having inclement weather disrupt your travel plans; however, since there is a chance that hurricanes could keep visitors from making their scheduled trips,
Disney World has a comprehensive hurricane policy in place. In short, if a hurricane is in the forecast for either Orlando or your place of residence within seven days of your scheduled arrival date, you can reschedule your reservations with Disney without incurring any change fees. This does not apply to any reservations made with a third party, including airline tickets.
The money that you paid toward your original vacation package will be applied to the new reservation, but you are not guaranteed the same accommodations, nor will any special offers, such as special event tickets or reduced theme park rates,
If you opt to cancel your trip, the standard cancellation policy will be in effect; if your trip is less than 44 days away, Disney charges a $200 cancellation fee. To avoid ever having to cancel your trip, it’s recommended that you don’t go to Disney during hurricane season.
Enjoying the Weather
Major weather events are relatively rare, but even if you encounter a rainy day at Disney World, you can still have fun. Head to the indoor attractions until the downpour passes; almost every park has indoor shows and exhibits that operate even when the weather turns damp. Consider meeting Mickey and Minnie in whichever Disney park you’re in, or taking a spin through the Haunted Mansion.
The Disney Springs, Downtown Disney and West Side Marketplace are also ideal for rainy days, and can be easily accessed on the monorail. Shopping and dining areas offer nearly any Disney souvenir imaginable, and the Disney Springs area houses a movie theater and Disney Quest, a multilevel arcade and interactive game center.
You can also take the opportunity of a few hours of rain to relax and explore your resort hotel, dine with Mickey, and take in the magic of the Disney experience. The weather will improve eventually, and you’ll be back to experiencing all of the magic of your Walt Disney World vacation.